In a day-long drama, two Indian High Commission staffers who had gone missing while on official duties on Monday morning in the Pakistani Capital Islamabad in what is believed to be retaliatory action by the Pakistani establishment were released late in the evening and handed back to the Indian High Commission after claims by the Pakistani police that they were involved in a road accident or hit-and-run case.
Sources confirmed to this newspaper that an FIR filed against them by the Pakistani Police mentions that they caused injuries to a person and were also in possession of fake currency to the tune of Rs 10,000. The fake currency charge against them is being seen as the “serious” one that will make it untenable for them to stay in that country further.
There were also some reports that the two staffers may have sustained some injuries while being in the custody of the Pakistani establishment.
Hours before their release, India in the evening had summoned Pakistani Charge d’Affaires Syed Haidar Shah and issued a demarche, demanding their immediate return along with the car of the Indian High Commission, with Government sources saying the demarche “made clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials” and that “the responsibility for the safety and security of the concerned diplomatic personnel lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities”.
The Pakistani action is being seen as retaliation by Islamabad after two Pakistan High Commission officials were asked to leave India late last month after being caught carrying out espionage activities.
According to some reports, the two Indian High Commission staffers belonged to the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and were on deputation.
A few hours before their release, Indian Government sources had on Monday evening said, “The Pakistan Cd’A was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and demarched on the reported arrest of two officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad as reported in the Pakistani media. The demarche to the Pakistan Cd’A made clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials. The responsibility for the safety and security of the concerned diplomatic personnel lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities. The Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately.”
It may be recalled that earlier this month, the vehicle of India’s Charge d’ Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was chased in the Pakistani Capital Islamabad by a motorcycle-borne person suspected to belong to Pakistan’s spy-agency ISI. This was after two Pakistani officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi were caught for espionage late last month and asked by India to leave the country after being declared persona non grata.
Indian Government sources had earlier this month said the two Pakistani officials had been caught “red-handed” carrying out espionage but had not been subjected to any “torture” as alleged by Pakistan. Sources had then said Pakistan appeared to be making the “false” allegation that its two officials had been tortured in order to create grounds for torture of Indian embassy officials in Islamabad. The worst apprehensions of India on expected retaliatory action by Pakistan seem to have come true.